ArticleCity.comArticle Categories Why Is My Transmission Slipping?

Why Is My Transmission Slipping?

Originally posted on


The transmission plays a vital role in the safe operation of any vehicle. If it isn’t working properly, it may even put the driver at risk while on the road.

One of the most common issues with a transmission is transmission slipping. Getting to know more about why this happens and the symptoms of it can help you know when this issue is present.

Keep reading to learn all about a slipping transmission and what you can do to prevent it.

Common Signs of a Slipping Transmission

There are a few general and common signs to look for that may indicate your transmission is slipping. Signs of this problem can appear in several forms while you are behind the wheel.

Some of the most common signs of this problem include:

  • When shifting gears, a harsh response or strange noises occur
  • A high RPM that exceeds 3,500
  • Issues shifting gears
  • Delays when accelerating
  • The presence of the check engine light
  • Inability to reverse
  • Burnt or unusual smells

If you notice any of these problems, then it’s likely a transmission issue. When these symptoms are present, it’s a good idea to get the vehicle to a mechanic right away.

The Most Common Causes of Transmission Slipping

There are several possible reasons transmission slipping may occur. The good news is, if you are able to find and fix the issue, you can prevent it from doing additional damage to your transmission.

Some of the most common signs of this problem are highlighted here.

An Issue with the Torque Converter

The torque converter is a type of hydraulic circuit that transfers the engine power to the transmission using hydraulic pressure. If damage is caused, there isn’t going to be enough pressure to operate the valve body and to engage or change the gears.

If the torque converter is bad, it may also cause the engine to stall or even slip out of the overdrive gear.

Low Levels of Fluid

Lower than normal fluid levels is the most common cause of transmission slipping problems. This can create several problems, including overheating and not enough hydraulic pressure created to engage the gears.

The best way for you to find out if you have lower fluid levels is to check the fluid using the dipstick found in the engine compartment. Remember, the transmission fluid is a closed system and it should never lower. If the levels are lower than normal, it could result in a leak in the transmission.

Solenoid Problems

A solenoid is a small electrically activated valve that’s designed to control the flow of the fluid inside of the transmission. The ability to control the hydraulic pressure is essential to actuating a gear change, so if the transmission solenoid is faulty, it can cause a wide array of problems.

Some of the most common issues include delayed shifting and the failure to engage or shift into a specific gear. If the fluid levels of the transmission have been checked, then the solenoids should be the next issue inspected.

Burnt Fluid

Is the transmission fluid dark black in color? Does it smell like burnt toast? If so, the culprit may be burnt fluid.

This issue occurs when the transmission overheats. Burnt fluid may occur if the transmission overheats. At this point, it’s necessary to have the fluid changed right away or to have a professional diagnose the issue to prevent further damage.

Worn Out Gears

There are several reasons worn gears may occur. They can result from normal wear and tear of the transmission, high mileage, overheating, and ineffective fluid.

The fact is, worn out gears aren’t going to work together properly. This can result in harsh gear engagement, the transmission slipping out of gear, extensive clunking and grinding, and the failure to engage a gear.

Broken or Worn Transmission Bands

The transmission bands may become broken or worn out. This can result in your transmission slipping.

The bands are what links the gears in an automatic transmission together. To fix this issue, you need to have the defective band adjusted or replaced.

Issues with the Clutch

Both manual and automatic transmissions use clutches. An automatic vehicle has clutch plates throughout the transmission and in the torque converter. These can become burnt or worn if there’s not enough transmission fluid present.

Tips to Prevent Transmission Slipping

If you want to prevent your transmission from slipping, then it’s important to have your vehicle maintained on a regular basis. This means it’s important to check the fluid regularly to find any signs of a problem, such as burnt, dirty, or low fluid.

Any of these issues may result in transmission slipping. It’s also smart to have your transmission flushed and a new filter installed at least one time every 30,000 miles traveled. With professional transmission service scheduled regularly, you can feel confident your transmission won’t fall victim to transmission slipping problems.

Preventing Transmission Slipping: Now You Know

While it is possible for you to handle transmission slipping on your own, it’s best to have a mechanic check things out to ensure there are no other issues present. Some transmission issues are complicated, which means it’s best to have the pros check out the issue and make the necessary repairs.

If you want to ensure your transmission isn’t having any type of issue, or if you have noticed any of the signs above, it’s a good idea to contact us right away. Our team can provide you with a free transmission multi-point inspection to check every part of the transmission and ensure that no other issues are present.

AAMCO has more than 50 years of experience servicing and repairing transmissions and has worked on more than 20 million vehicles. Customers rely on us for:

  • Quality workmanship
  • Superior service
  • Best warranty coverage available
  • Trustworthy, honest service

AAMCO Centers of the Atlanta metro and surrounding areas represents trust, quality and value.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.